New Canaan girls hockey team remains perfect with win over Staples
Updated 10:17 pm, Wednesday, January 4, 2012
In a game that wasn't quite as close as the final score would indicate, the New Canaan girls hockey team won its seventh straight to remain unbeaten by upending Staples/Trumbull 8-4 at the Darien Ice Rink Monday afternoon.
It was just another day at the office for the Rams and Olivia Hompe, who scored five goals. Hompe required just over 17 minutes of play to notch the hat trick.
"It was nice to come back after a long break and get back in the groove of things," Hompe said. "We got a lot of people on the ice, which is nice, and we got Sarah [Klearman], our backup goalie on the ice. We got a lot of the lines to start clicking even better than before the break, so it's looking good."
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Hompe opened the scoring 1:44 into the game when New Canaan's Holly Burwick gained control of the puck behind the Staples net and sent a pass to Hompe, who buried a close-range shot for the early lead.
Four minutes later, Hompe scored an unassisted goal for a 2-0 lead. Just over a minute later, Emma Rosenstein scored after taking in a pass from Abbey Buckenheimer.
New Canaan closed out the opening period with a 4-0 lead when Holly Burwick scored with 15 seconds left, as Kyla Persky and Hompe each collected an assist on the play.
Before 2:30 had expired in the second period, the Rams had taken a 6-0 lead thanks to a pair of unassisted goals, the first by Kellianne Hickey and the second by Hompe.
Staples/Trumbull first lit the lamp while facing a 6-0 deficit in the second period. Nina Danforth scored on a wraparound goal off of her backhand, as Nila Caballero picked up an assist. Three minutes later, Staples/Trumbull cut the lead to 6-2 when Danforth got the puck to Steph DiCostanzo for the goal.
"The score wasn't as bad as it was last year and we tried our hardest today," Caballero said. "Our team works together as a whole very good. This game will help us get better."
Hompe then scored her fourth and fifth goals of the contest to increase New Canaan's lead to 8-2. Persky and Berwick each assisted on each of Hompe's final two tallies.
Staples/Trumbull's Kaly Gonski scored Staples' third and fourth goals to close out the scoring with Caballero assisting on the last one.
Late in the second period, New Canaan began to pass on scoring opportunities, instead opting to work on puck cycling and passing. Hompe, in particular, had a golden opportunity to score her sixth goal of the contest on a breakaway, but instead dumped the puck into the corner as soon as she skated across the blue line.
"It is kind of hard [to not try to score], but we pride ourselves on playing with class," Hompe said. "We've all been on the other end of that, and we know it's no fun."
New Canaan's usual starting goalie Britt Gardella was spelled by backup netminder Klearman, who came up with six saves in the winning effort. Klearman's best sequence of the day occurred in the second period when she stopped Staples' initial shot before also denying two stuff-in attempts.
"We always want to do things class and play the right way and not embarrass anyone. You want people to remember not just that you had a good team, but that you knew how to handle yourselves," New Canaan coach Rich Bulan said. "You still need to be doing what you're supposed to do, and I'm very proud of them because they always do put that effort in and give it the best they have, no matter who we're playing."
Despite the New Canaan barrage, Staples/Trumbull goalie Casey Bang still managed to make 17 saves on the day.
"Playing against a tougher team makes us play 10 times harder than maybe against weaker teams," Danforth said. "This is probably the best game we have played as a team this year."